When it comes to tattoo art, tribal tattoos have been eternal favorites among tattoo lovers around the world and their popularity is not expected to come down in the coming times too. Tribal tattoos include Polynesian tattoos, Hawaiian tattoos and of course, one of the most loved ones, are the Native American tattoos. The tribes of Native America were amongst the first ones to come up with this alluring art form. They used primitive equipment such as sharpened rock or bone for the purpose of inking the tattoos by creating a wound on the flesh and filling it with natural dyes. Both men and women of these tribes sported tattoos and the legacy has been carried forward to modern times, as Native American arts continue to rule the hearts of men and women around the globe.
Symbolic Significance of Native American Tattoos
Though Native American tattoos abound in aesthetic value, they have symbolic significance too. In many tribes, these tattoos were borne as a mark of membership to the clan, social status and acts of bravery in the battlefield. When men returned from wars after having performed some heroic acts, they were inked with tattoos. Many Native American designs were held in high regard as talismans of protection because they were known to have magical qualities based on elements employed in them.
Popular Design Options
The Native American culture used different design elements to create diverse tattoo designs, with some elements coming from items of daily use while others, being based on their symbolic values. Here are some popular designs:
- Dreamcatcher Tattoo – Dreamcatcher design is almost synonymous with Native American art and the dreamcatcher is a regarded as a miraculous object in this culture. It comprises of a web like object woven with colorful thread, embellished with beads and feathers. It is believed that the dreamcatcher passes positive dreams for the person who sleeps beneath it, and stops negative ones by catching them from reaching the person. Not only is this element a beautiful one but it also has an amazing positive value. Most of the times, tribal tattoos are done in black and grey color, but a dreamcatcher tattoo can be inked in a multitude of vibrant colors. The design’s popularity is no longer confined to Native American cultures, but it is loved by discerning tattoo lovers from around the world. Like the dreamcatcher itself, this tattoo is supposed to bring protection and well being for the bearer and transmit positive energies in his existence and life. The tattoo design can incorporate other elements for a creative design.
- Feather Tattoos – Another option designs is the feather tattoo as feathers bear a close relationship with the Native American culture. They are linked with deep spiritualism and power of the mind, which is the reason why many of the tattoos in this culture contain this element.
- Animal Tattoos – The Native American tribes were primarily hunters and animals played an important part in their life as they depended on them for food as well as survival. It was a practice in this culture to have a tattoo design featuring animals which a person related with, with animals like bison, eagle, etc being popular options as they signified power and strength. Each animal has certain attributes and these are carried in the tattoos featuring them, as well.
- Native American Script Tattoos – The Native American cultures made use of unique scripts and images, which are distinct to these tribes. Those tattoo bearers who are interested in honoring the culture may have their names or some text translated to these scripts and inked in the form of script tattoos.
- Tattoos with Elements of Nature – Native American tribes revered the forces of nature such as air, water, earth and fire because they believed that these forces played a key role in their existence. As a result, these elements of nature have found a place in the tattoo designs from this culture, as they have been used by tattoo bearers to show their reverence for these forces.
- Tribal Seal Tattoos – Different Native American tribes made use of their distinctive seals and these seals were used by them in tattoo designs to indicate the membership of the bearer to that particular tribe. Till date, these designs are on the heights of popularity among tattoo enthusiasts.
When you decide that you are going to have a Native American tattoo design inked on you, you are in for a good deal of research because each of these designs has deep symbolic meaning and you need to know it before you make it a part of your existence. A wrong design can hurt the sentiments of the people belonging to these tribes, which is the reason that their authenticity matters a lot.